DeSantis proposes holding tax ‘holidays’ again

Parents encouraged to shop around for deals during tax free holiday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is again seeking to hold sales-tax “holidays” for disaster-preparedness supplies and back-to-school shopping as part of economic initiatives included in a proposed $96.6 billion budget released Thursday.

DeSantis also wants to revive the Job Growth Grant Fund, asking for $50 million for the program, which would allow him to direct money to regional infrastructure projects and workforce-training programs.

Lawmakers last year approved $20 million for the fund, which was created in 2017 after a legislative battle over economic-development incentives.

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But DeSantis in June eliminated the growth fund money as part of $1 billion in vetoes aimed at reducing expenses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In his new budget proposal, DeSantis projected $65 million in savings for Floridians from the two proposed sales-tax holidays.

One would last for eight days and target back-to-school shoppers, who would be able to avoid paying sales taxes on clothing costing up to $60, school supplies costing up to $15 and computers priced at $1,000 or less.

DeSantis also asked for a 10-day disaster-preparedness tax holiday before hurricane season, with shoppers able to avoid sales taxes on storm supplies, including generators priced up to $750.

Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, has already proposed a bill (SB 598) that would create a nine-day school tax holiday.

A proposed 16-day disaster-preparedness holiday has been proposed (SB 734) by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota.

DeSantis’ proposed budget also includes $5 million for Enterprise Florida, the state’s business recruitment agency, and $50 million for Visit Florida, its tourism-marketing arm. The Visit Florida funding would be the same as in the current fiscal year.